John Bergmayer, a senior staff attorney at the advocacy group Public Knowledge, said the secrecy of the Comcast-Netflix deal is one of its essential problems.

“No one on the outside knows what is happening in this market,” Bergmayer said. What is clear, however, is “that residential ISPs should be in the business of charging their users for access the Internet, not of charging the rest of the Internet for access to their users. This ensures that they are putting the needs of their users first.”

The new development is especially troubling in the context of Comcast’s recent announcement to purchase Time Warner cable, a merger that, if approved, would make Comcast the single dominant cable company in the nation with a full one-third of market share.

“One way to prevent competitive problems from arising, and to reduce the need for future regulation, is to prevent ISPs from holding other networks hostage,” Bergmayer said. “This raises concerns in light of the proposed Comcast/Time Warner Cable merger.”

And Matt Wood, policy director at Free Press, said when it comes to net neutrality and preserving the principles of a fair and open internet, size does matter.

As Wood told the Washington Post: “Only a giant like Netflix could afford to withstand a protracted battle like this, and it may have just surrendered more than it would have if ISPs weren’t allowed to abuse their gatekeeper status.”

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